Sunday, December 28, 2008

Menu Time: December 28, 2008

This week is all about using up leftover turkey, again.

On the bright side I did get almost 2 gallons of stock out of the Turkey from last week, so we start the week off by using some of it.

Sunday
Italian wedding soup and rolls

Monday
Leftovers - somebody has to eat the leftover green bean casserole and that somebody is me.

Tuesday
Turkey Pot Pie

Wednesday
Chili Cook Off! Cornbread, leftover assorted Christmas goodies.

Thursday
Dinner out with the folks

Friday
Stir fried pork and spinach, rice

Saturday
Turkey Enchiladas and black beans

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Recipe: Herbed Stuffing

This was well received at Christmas Lunch so I thought share the recipe, which I of course got off another blog!

Ingredients


16 ounces French or Italian bread
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried crumbled tarragon or sage
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into chunks, and put them in the container of a food processor; you may need to do this in batches. Pulse until you have coarse, irregular crumbs, no smaller than a pea and preferably larger.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet, Dutch oven or casserole. Add onions and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes.
Add bread crumbs, stock and tarragon or sage, and toss to mix. Turn heat to low, and add parsley, along with some salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Bake stuffing in same pan, or put in an ovenproof casserole. Bake 30 minutes, or until stuffing is lightly browned on top. Serve hot. (Stuffing may also be cooked in turkey, if desired.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu Time: December 21, 2008

It is Christmas week so Thursday is a lunch instead of dinner menu for us this week, Thursday evening will be snacking and napping mostly.

Sunday
Shredded Pork Nachos

Monday
Sara's making dinner! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday
Beef Stew and Biscuits

Wednesday
Christmas Eve Dinner with the family TBD.

Thursday - Christmas Day!
Broccoli Soup with Croutons, Turkey, Herbed Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Roasted Cauliflower and wheat rolls. Seems to be missing something don't you think? ;).

Friday
Warm lentils with bacon and rice.

Saturday
Turkey Soup

Recipe: Split pea soup

This is not a new or exciting recipe but we make it almost once a month. It is especially great with some grilled cheese on the side. Feel free to add a ham hock while things simmer but pull it out before blending, or add some chopped ham after blending the soup.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion minced/grated
3 cloves garlic (about a Tbsp minced)
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz split peas (yellow or green)
5 cups Chicken stock, veggie stock or water

Directions
Melt the butter over medium heat in a 3 qt sauce pan
Sweat the onions in the melted butter with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes
Add the garlic and sweat an additional minute
Rinse the peas in cold water and pick out any stones that might have slipped into the bag.
Add the peas and stock.
Bring to a full boil for a minute then turn down to simmer for 45 - 55 minutes or until the peas are tender.
Spoon about a cup and a half of the peas without stock out of the pan.
Blend the remaining saucepan contents in a blender or with a stick blender.
Add the reserved peas back in and stir to combine.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bonus Recipe: Cabbage Salad with citrus vinaigrette

Brats and cabbage only used up half the head of cabbage we bought so we scavenged the fridge and freezer and made this with the other half.

Ingredients
Half a head of cabbage
1 carrot
2 oranges,
1 tsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Juice from oranges
1/4 Cup slivered almonds
1/4 Cup oil (we used extra light olive because it's what we had but sesame would be great)
2 grilled chicken breasts

Directions
Shred the cabbage and the carrot. I used a knife for the cabbage and box grater for the carrot.
Remove the zest from the oranges and reserve.
Supreme the oranges. Catch the juice in a big bowl while you're doing this and you should get the 2 Tbsp you need.
Whisk Soy Sauce, zest and OJ together, drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk.
Toss the orange pieces, almonds, carrots and cabbage together.
Add the vinaigrette to the veg and toss to coat.
Serve with sliced chicken over the top.

Notes
One nice thing about this salad is that the cabbage doesn't wilt in the vinaigrette much at all so it's great for leftovers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Recipe: Veggie and Shrimp Pasta

The gist of this was just throwing some veggies in a pan and cooking some pasta, super easy. You can pretty much interchange any veggies that are "in season" or cheap, I like both ;).

Ingredients
12 oz pasta - noodles, shapes, your pick
2 carrots
1 shallot
1 head broccoli (could use zucchini, peas, asparagus or a sturdy leafy green I suppose)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil divided
2 Tbsp chicken stock
1/2 pound shrimp - 30 count
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan

Directions
Cook pasta per directions on box, or your own method, personally I use a blow torch, j/k, but salt the water, it helps
Mince shallot and sweat with a pinch of salt in two Tbsp olive oil for a minute or two in a big skillet over medium heat
Finely dice the carrot and add to the skillet, cook for about 5 minutes
De-vain and shell the shrimp, toss into the pan and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes
Add the pasta, stock, remaining olive oil and cheese to the skillet, toss to coat
Add extra black pepper and cheese to taste, serve

I cooked the shrimp separately and added them to my bowl o pasta as my lovely wife does not dig seafood.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Menu Time: December 14, 2008

This week's menu features an egg dish because we bought a ton to make cookies, and some sausage and cabbage because I am trying to connect with my German heritage beyond the beer and sausage, but I would recommend beer with that meal.

Sunday
Split pea soup and grilled cheese

Monday
Asparagus and ham frittata (asparagus is definitely out of season but on sale at Sunflower this week)

Tuesday
Steak tacos, rice and black beans

Wednesday
Bratwurst and braised cabbage

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Dinner with family (not at our house) - we're taking a bottle of Malbec with us, dinner is better with wine after all.

Saturday
Chicken and pasta in cream sauce

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Menu time December 7, 2008

I'm introducing a new "feature" on Twicebuzzed this week. I'm posting our menu for the week and going to write about the requested recipe later in the week.

So post into the comments what recipe you want to see later this week and I'll get it written up. Here's the menu for this week.

Sunday
Braised Pork Roast, Tortillas, Salad.

Monday
Veggie and Shrimp Pasta

Tuesday
Meatloaf (that is some tasty cow!), Mashed potatoes

Wednesday
Leftovers/pizza night

Thursday
Company holiday party time!

Friday
BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Apple Sauce

Monday, November 03, 2008

31 days 31 reasons - Uber election eve post

Uber catchup/GOTV post.  Go Vote . . seriously, go.

18 - Iraq - Get the troops out and use diplomacy to stabilize the region; http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/index.php
19 - Joe Biden - Remember that whole "experience" argument, yeah see Joe Biden - http://www.barackobama.com/learn/meet_joe.php

20 - Hunt down the terrorists who did attack America on 9/11 - Seriously, It wasn't Saddam, and Bin Laden is in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan; 

21 - Support small business - Hm one big tax credit for one big company or a whole bunch of smaller ones for the small businesses man down the street; http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/index.php#small-business

22 - Retool big business - He ain't hatin' on big business, help 'em retool for the new energy economy; http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/index.php#invest-for-jobs

23 - Warren Buffet likes Obama, you should too; http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iEoh4tPLHPMMok875VIJDcq3FOKg

24 - He reads email, the other guy can't - It's more than just about email, it's more than just a generation gap, it's a sign that McCain is not just out of touch but that he can't grok new ideas, new forms of communication and wrap his mind around new things.  Those are not good qualities in a President.

25 - McCain's Experience versus Obama's Judgement - McCain's been there and done that, so what.  Obama said the war was wrong from the beginning, that Fannie and Freddie were woefully under regulated and says that giving the Middle Class a tax break will get us outta this economic problem.  He's 2 for 2 so far.

26 - Won't treat Rural America as just flyover states; http://www.barackobama.com/issues/rural/ and as a bonus here's info for you hunters out there; http://www.barackobama.com/issues/additional/#sportsmen

27 - It's a hand up not a hand out - Yes people will abuse the system, but given the chance 99% of Americans want to work and pay their own way, why not give them that chance? http://www.barackobama.com/issues/poverty/

28 - Health care - So if I was running a business for profit and I could take my business to a more deregulated state where it was more likely I could turn down customer claims I would, just saying.  Health care should be affordable and accessible, to everybody!  http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/

29 - Social Security - Personally, I'm not gonna trust a McCain government to put my money into the stock market . . just saying; http://www.barackobama.com/issues/seniors/#protect-ss


31 - It's about the economy debt stupid - in the last 8 years the National debt went from $5.7 Trillion to $10.3 Trillion (up 80%) while the Budget increased from 2 Trillion Dollars in 2002 to a proposed 3.1 Trillion in 2009 (up 55%).  China currently holds 20% of our public debt, second only to Japan.  When they call in those debts who's gonna pay for it?  You, me, our kids, 
our grand kids?  How much will it be then?  How much will taxes have to go up to pay the debt back and still have an Army, and build roads, and schools?  How does John McCain differ from the guy that got us into this?  Let's get the budget balanced now, let's invest in America now, let's elect Barack Obama now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #17 - Enough hidden earmarks

Earmarks, in case you've been under a rock, have gotten some deservedly bad press this election season, mostly notably the "bridge to nowhere".

What if there was a way to see what earmarks were included in a bill BEFORE it was voted on?  Or to see how much a company is spending on lobbying your congressman?  Hm, novel ideas . . . wonder which candidate has been talking about them?  That's right John Mc . . just kidding, it's Barack.  Here's the whole plan.

An extra special bonus within there is about opening up White House communications, assuming they don't get lost.

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #16 - Make college affordable

Back to Education with this post.

College is expensive, crazy expensive in some places, but it doesn't have to be.  A more educated workforce is a more productive workforce and in turn a more productive economy.

The Obama-Biden ticket has proposed a $4000 tax credit (2/3rds of yearly tuition at most state schools) to help pay for college.  The credit would be applicable to the year's taxes of enrollment, to ensure the credit can be used the same year tuition is due, not the year after.  In addition students taking advantage of the credit would be required to give 100 hours of public service each year the credit is used.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #15 - Progressives aren't Godless

Barack Obama is a man of faith.

“Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.”
He understands that God shouldn't be used as a wedge issue if we want to bring real change and success to this country.

“Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America – there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America – there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”
You can read the entire policy page here; http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaonFaith.pdf.

My favorite part is this quote from his Presidential announcement speech;

“And although government will play a crucial role in bringing about the changes we need, more money and programs alone will not get us where we need to go. Each of us, in our own lives, will have to accept responsibility - for instilling an ethic of achievement in our children, for adapting to a more competitive economy, for strengthening our communities, and sharing some measure of sacrifice. So let us begin. Let us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #14 - Colin Powell

Besides the big news over the weekend that the Obama campaign raised$150 million in September, previous record was $65 in August, and had a crowd of 100,000 people in St. Louis there was the big news that Colin Powell will vote for Barack Obama in November.  See the video from MTP here;




Friday, October 17, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #13 - A long term energy and climate plan

Barack Obama and Joe Biden understand we can't just fix things for today, we need a plan for the future, every one's future not just the oil companies.  Here's a really simplified version.

1. Acknowledge that climate change is real - America needs to be the leader on this.  There is no reason for us to sit around and whine that we won't do it if China won't do it, that's not leadership that's acting like a 5 year old.  Step up, be a big kid and tell the rest of the world we understand that if we don't take action now we'll pay more for it later and we're ready to get to work.

2. Invest in an new energy economy - Spend $150 Billion over 10 years to train returning veterans, retool companies and create job training programs to build the new energy economy.  $150 is $30 billion less than we spent in Iraq last year and $550 billion less than the government bailout that was signed into law earlier this month.  I think we can find a way to raise the $15 Billion a year to create 5 Million new jobs.

3.  Do something about our gas consumption - We have 3% of the worlds oil reserves.  We consume 25% of the worlds oil.  I'm trying to come up with an example that uses cupcakes but keeping getting distracted by the thought of cupcakes . . . hmmmmmm.  So . . back to the post . . we retooled Detroit from making cars to making tanks in the 40's, why can't we invest to retool Detroit from making Gas Guzzlers to making cheap hybrids?  Cause it's hard?  Most things worth doing ain't easy Susy, suck it up and pay your dues.

4. Acknowledge that drilling and renewable energy are a way forward - Remember that 3%?  Got no problems going to get some of it.  The oil companies have leases on 68 million acres of land and 40 million acres of coast line, that they don't do anything with.  Use it or lose it boys just like my Health Savings account.  But Oil isn't the only solution.  It will be a mix of wind, solar, bio-fuels, nuclear, clean coal, etc. that get us stable, local, clean energy.

OK I'm done typing about energy.  If you want to read more go here; http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/factsheet_energy_speech_080308.pdf.  And if you are too lazy to read print it out, come to my house and I'll read it to you, unless I'm out canvassing ;).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #12 - A solution for today's energy crisis

  1. Immediately Provide Emergency Energy Rebate - Through a windfalls profit tax provide a tax credit of $500 for individuals and $1000 for maried couples to help pay at the pump and cover heating bills.
  2. Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation. - Simple regulations to bring some common sense to the market.
  3. Swap Light and Heavy Crude, Release Oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices. - The Reserve is there for times of crisis, if the doubling of the price of gas wasn't a crisis what is?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #11 - Charter School policy that makes sense

Charter schools can make sense if implemented correctly, and I think the Obama/Biden plan makes sense.  Provide funding to states for charter schools that outline clear accountability for how those schools perform.   The plan also calls for clear guidelines to close under performing schools like was done in Thornton where several smaller schools opened to provide parents and students choices of where to go depending on their desired area of study.

Schools should be funded, teachers shouldn't teach students to fill in bubbles and schools should be accountable.  Barack Obama gets it and has a plan to make it happen.

31 days, 31 reasons - Reason #10 - Make filing your taxes easier

Taxes suck.  Even the EZ form isn't easy, and the only people that can fill it out are either 18 or 80, maybe.

Barack Obama wants the IRS to pre-populate your tax form with the data they already get from your employer and banks.  This would allow 40 million Americans who take the standard deduction to do their taxes in around 5 minutes, save over 2 billion in tax prep costs every year and save 200 million hours of headache involved with doing those taxes.

Have you tried the tax calculator yet?  We'd be $1000 better off under the Obama plan, you can try it here;http://taxcut.barackobama.com/.

Friday, October 10, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons - Reasons #8 and 9 - Michelle and the kids

I was gonna type up something about Barack and his family and what not but i'm a little pressed for time this morning so just watch this eh?







Thursday, October 09, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons: Reason #7 - Invest in a 21st century military

Battles today aren't fought the way they were 60 years ago, or even 20 years ago. Today we deal again and again with gorilla insurgencies, cyber threats, the resurgence of Russia, potential of nuclear materials getting to rogue states or terrorists among others.  The thinking needs to change about how we equip, train and deploy our military.  Barack Obama has a plan to do this, to properly train and equip troops when they are deployed.  Review current weapon programs, update those that need it and eliminate those that are outdated.  Provide funds to defend the cyber space business needs today as well as deploy sound missile defense.

You can of course find the full plan on the website, where do you think I'm finding all this after all?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons: Reason #6 - Expand Head Start

I went to Head Start as a kid, so did most of my friends from High Schoool.  My brothers went to Head Start.  My Mom teaches at Head Start/Wyoming Child and Family Development (Go Mom!).  It is a great program and if this country is really dedicated to giving students an when they graduate and enter the workforce doesn't it make sense to do it as early as possible?  Barack Obama supports that plan and wants to increase funding for local Head Start Programs.  Of course you can always volunteer at a Head Start center in your community, find the closest one here; http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/HeadStartOffices.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons: Reason #5 - Support the Vetrans

Let me make one thing clear.  I am absolutely in debt to John McCain for his service to this country.  I have the greatest respect for anyone who has served in the Military and especially for POW's.

That being said I think we should elect the candidate who has a track record of doing right by Vetrans and wants to do more to see them transition easily back to civilian life.  This includes updating the GI Bill, training vets to work in the renewable energy field and improvements to medical care after vets leave the service.  For the full plan read this.

Monday, October 06, 2008

31 days, 31 reasons: Reason #4 - Balance the budget!

Balancing a budget isn't the easiest of things to do, but if you were doing it with somebody else's money wouldn't you at least want to try?  In order to help balance the Federal budget Barack Obama will re-institute PAYGO rules, from the website:

Reinstate PAYGO Rules: Obama and Biden believe that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue.
Bush ran on the promise that a business man could run Washington better, more like a company, well the Federal Government has increased it's budget 28.8% in the last 8 years while the National Debt has risen from $5.7 to $8.8 TRILLION dollars!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

31 Days 31 Reasons: Reason #3 - Google for Government

Google for Government. Check out www.usaspending.gov. From the press release on Senator Obama's Senate website:

"It's a good-government measure designed to give journalists and average citizens access to budget secrets Washington insiders now try to hide, like that notorious "earmark" done late at night authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars for a bridge to a virtually uninhabited island up in Alaska, the so-called Bridge to Nowhere."

This was the first bill passed by Senator Obama which was co-sponsored by Senator Coborn (R-OK). It just makes sense to see where your money is going and be able to call your Senator or Congressman to raise hell if you don't like it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

31 Days 31 Reasons: Reason #2

Reason #2

Tax relief for seniors. Under the Obama plan Seniors with under $50,000 of Income will no longer need to pay Income taxes. This means an average yearly savings of $1,400 for 7 million seniors and that 27 million will not even need to file an income tax return.

I think my grandparents would like this proposal, how about yours?

Friday, October 03, 2008

31 Days, 31 Reasons: Reason #1

There are 31 days to election day, I think it's time to start a recurring blog post of 31 reasons to vote for Barack Obama, 1 reason a day* until November 4th.

Reason #1
Jumpstart the economy by providing a $1000 tax credit to middle class families.

I hear you already, how's he gonna pay for it!?  The same way Gov. Palin paid for it in Alaska, a Windfall Profits tax.  See the plan here.

*(note I reserve the right to double post the days up to and around homecoming as I may not have access to a computer, yeah that's it)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rally Time!

I took the day off Tuesday to go to a political rally, I was a volunteer. Nothing too big, just a local thing.





Former Denver Mayor Frederico Pena was there.






Current Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was there.






Colorado Governor Bill Ritter was there.







Oh and Barack Obama was there!
























It was an awesome event in Golden. I was asked to volunteer at the event by the Field Organizer in Arvada. Fortunately we had the cushy assignment to seat the wristband folks (VIPs) who sat in the first four rows and then got to see the speech from just to the, only about 30 feet away from the podium.

The highlight of the day was after we helped clean up and put away chairs. The Secret Service walked the volunteers into a smaller gym and split us into 3 groups. A staff member came by each group and informed us to get lined up for a photo and leave space for the Senator in the middle. Senator Obama. Fortunately nobody passed out. More fortunately Senator Obama shook every volunteers hand, woo hoo! Unfortunately I don't have the URL for the photo yet!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Garden Update: September means tomatoes

Tomatoes, lots of tomatoes. That is what we have right now, dozens of Roma Tomatoes.

I was home on Tuesday and had a chance to oven roast some of those tomatoes.

I made up two batches of tomatoes, one with herbs one without. The recipe is pretty darn easy as it involves cutting, mixing and waiting. The end result, 10 hours later, is a batch of roasted tomatoes that can be used on sandwiches, pasta, pizza, soups, stews, etc. etc.

Step one: Get yourself some tomatoes (about 16-20) from the grocery store, farmers market or neighbor's backyard. Wash and slice all these guys in half and throw them into a big bowl.

Step two: Turn the oven on and set to 200 degrees.

Step three: Dump into the bowl two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon each of salt, pepper and if doing the herbed variety dried basil and oregano. Bash and chop up a couple cloves of garlic if you like garlic, resist the urge to use a whole head of garlic even if you love garlic. Toss all this with your hands.

Step four: Lay the tomatoes out into a roasting pan or cookie sheet with a lip, dump the juice from the bottom of the bowl over the laid out tomatoes.

Step five: Hang out for 4 hours, run errands, read a book, go to a movie, what ever, just kill 4 hours.

Step six: Pull the pans out, flip the tomatoes over and put the pans back in the oven.

Step seven: Hang out for another 4 hours, play with the kids, go to a ballgame, learn to knit, just kill 4 more hours.

Step 8: Pull those tomatoes out and let them cool. Store in a zip top bag or other air tight container and keep in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New windows!

We had new windows installed last week, some key points about the experience.

1. It was freezing in the house without them.


2. We get to buy new window coverings, something I have mixed 
emotions about since we have to buy them (who knew mini blinds cost so much!) and we have to install them (woo hoo powertools!).




3. We love our new bay window.




4. Windows are crazy expensive.



5. We're already enjoying the dual benefit of less
 sound leaking into the house and less heat leaking out of the house.


6. Did I mention we love the bay window?

Monday, September 08, 2008

For Jaded

In an effort to ensure you post here's a link to the flag "controversy" from this weekend for you.

My question is this. Why would anybody "throw away" something they know they would need again for future rallies in a state that is sure to be a battle ground? That's just silly.

And now the part of the post for me, McCain versus McCain on bringing troops home.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mocking 2 million people

I did not watch it, we were putting back up the window coverings we could, more on that later tonight or tomorrow, but I got emails about it almost immediately afteward.  One thing I wanted to share from the Obama campaign specifically;

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
I am volunteering with the Obama campaign in my neighborhood and it has been a great experience.  I have had a chance to meet folks from the neighborhood and make connections I would never have made otherwise.  This is not a campaign run from the top down, it is a campaign run by over 2 million volunteers who want to make a change in their communities.  When election season comes to an end on November 4th these people aren't just going to fade back into their previous lives.  We are going to continue to organize to make our communities a better place to grow up, live and retire in, regardless of the outcome of the election.

So I ask the McCain campaign to try to make this campaign about the issues, not the wedge issues that noone will change their minds on like the 2nd ammendment, Abortion and Gay Marriage, but about the issues affecting our communities on a daily basis like the economy, energy costs, roads, education, etc.  I am already talking to folks in my community about these issues, I hope the McCain campaign will join me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Convention Week Day 1 Morning


So far it isn't too out of the ordinary down here. A few things I noticed on the ride into work.

1. The bus was half empty and traffic was a breeze, apparently people are just staying away from downtown today.
2. There were several Downtown Denver Hosts standing outside Market Street Station waiting for people looking lost, or so it seemed.
3. There are helicopters flying around already, not traffic copters, helicopters with machine guns on them.
4. I overheard delegates talking about caucus meetings and a reporter talking about his interview with Tim Kaine at 10am on the Mall Shuttle
5. I had to have a co-worker vouch for me before I could get into my office today because I don't have the nifty badge yet.

So far pretty easy, but it's only 8am on Monday, let's see how the rest of the day goes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

McCain and the Oil Rig

John McCain spoke from an oil rig today. This speaking engagement was delayed by hurricane Dolly in July so he had to wait to get out in front of the press to say that more offshore drilling was the answer. I have two things to say about this; 1) This oil field didn't start producing until 10 years after it's discovery and 2) Hurricanes routinely force workers off the rigs and stop drilling/pumping in addition to delaying candidates from stumping on them. If trends continue for more hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and we are more dependent on oil drilled from said Gulf won't we have more instances of shut down if not damaged rigs?


You can find Sen. Obama's energy plan here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Speech Speech Speech Speech!

That is not one of our tickets, I grabbed an image from the web.

We do have tickets though ;). We'll be getting down to Invesco not long after the gates open at 1pm on the 28th.

Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh the Humanity!

That is quite a mess.

Fortunately it was not due to me losing a finger.

It is the mess I made peeling beets. Yes beets.

Yes peeling.

I wanted roasted beets for salad, and it was rather tasty.

Roasted beets, goat cheese and walnuts over mixed greens with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Tasty tasty stuff. I highly recommend it.

One lesson we learned about roasting beets, at 400 degrees they need at least 40 minutes, 30 left us with the larger beets being a bit too crunchy in the salad.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Garden Update: Beginning of August Harvest

The garden is exploding with produce. Exploding might be the wrong word, but the fact remains we are harvesting on a daily basis!

Zucchini continue to show up at a rate of 2 a week and the cucumbers are showing up at almost 2 a day. Fortunately we really really like cucumbers and have friends willing to take them off our hands, and family, and strangers.

The Early Girl tomatoes are starting to ripen up nicely, in fact I pulled 7 of them out tonight, but more about that later.

I was initially disappointed in the pepper production, and I still am. We do have a few peppers growing nicely, I suspect they will be seen again here in a salsa recipe soon.

Tonight I harvested 6 tomatoes, a couple sprigs of basil, a few cucumbers and a zucchini while the rain had died down for a few minutes, it is pouring again as I write this.

The zucchini became the first course of the evening, zucchini soup. The tomatoes and basil went into a quick no cook sauce that we tossed with some spaghetti. The cucumbers were chopped into a quick salad, we are running out of ways to use them!

After dinner we realized that not only was this meal vegetarian but it was vegan too! Despite the taste of creaminess in the soup it contains no dairy whatsoever, just some olive oil, garlic, zucchini and water. We both agree that adding balls of mozzarella to the pasta would have made it even better. Fortunately for us there are plenty of tomatoes waiting to be transformed into additional pasta goodness to test the cheese hypothesis.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garden Update: Zucchini update

I pulled this from the garden last night.
















Here it is next to a 2 liter of Coke.




















I pulled a slightly smaller one out last night for dinner, we used half of it. I foresee some zucchini bread in my future.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Liberal Media Bias in action!

Man it just won't stop will it!

CBS, a clearly liberal news organization, edited an interview with John McCain yesterday in which his answer to a question regarding the Anbar Awakening was clearly wrong. The edit was such that the answer played after the question was from a different question in the interview. This follows McCain's comment yesterday that Pakistan and Iraq share a border, hm well if the sea counts as a border, in which case the US and Japan are neighbors!


See more liberal bloggy/video goodness of the Anbar snafu here and here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Beef, broccoli and carrots


My brother has been giving me a hard time about the lack of cow/dinner posts lately, he thinks we have gone vegetarian with the all the garden posting lately. The truth is we have been sticking with burgers or tacos mostly lately, nothing new to post about. We felt like having some Asian food tonight so I picked up some broccoli, garlic, scallions and some Palisade peaches at the farmers market this morning in Golden.


We have had been and broccoli in the past but never really followed a recipe beyond the beef and the broccoli part, maybe some garlic and soy sauce and that was about it. Tonight I thought we should follow a recipe, but then immediately tweaked it.

Rice with garlic and scallions
1 Cup of long grain rice
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
1 clove garlic minced
White parts of 2 scallions chopped
2 Cups of water

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for a minute over medium high heat.
Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, let saute for an additional minute or two.
Add the water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.
Let simmer for 20 minutes then move off the heat for 5.
Uncover, fluff the rice and serve.

The Beef, broccoli and carrots
1 lb round steak
1 head of broccoli
3 medium carrots

Sauce
2 cloves of garlic
3 scallions
2 Tbsp of soy sauce
1 Tbsp of white sugar
1 cup of beef broth

Slice the beef thinly against the grain
Cut the vegetables into bit size chunks
Mix all ingredients of the sauce in a bowl
Stir fry the beef in 2 batches in vegetable oil and then remove to a platter
Dump the veggies and half a cup of water into the pan and cover to steam for 5 minutes.
Add the beef back to the pan and sauce to taste (we used about half of what we made)
Let simmer until sauce is reduced by half.
Serve over rice or noodles.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July Garden Update

The gardening project has been mostly successful so far. We've had great luck with all the herbs except the cilantro. The peppers are growing slower than I thought and there is not a single pepper pod yet but it is only early July. We will look for a different place to put them next year to get some better production.



The tomatoes are going crazy, we counted 11 on a single plant this morning, between the size of a marble and a tennis ball. I am hoping to pick some ripe ones in the next couple weeks from the Early Girls, the Roma tomatoes should be ready in August.

The zucchini plant is taking over its small part of the world and the cucumbers are in turn increasing production in case the zucchini plant breaks their neutrality pact. We have already had several zucchini dishes, grilled, broiled and boiled, all really tasty. There is one cucumber almost ready to pick and several others just getting started to go along with the dozens of flowers on the plants.



Over all so far we're judging this a success and hopefully we'll have enough tomatoes to can some salsa and sauce. Some things we have already decided to do different next year;
  1. Space the plants out more
  2. Get the trellis up for the cucumbers and zucchini earlier
  3. Plant the flowers near the garden but not in it

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who needs tires?

I get handed a lot of stuff leaving the Market Street Station every morning, at least one thing a week. There have been breakfast bars, breakfast drinks, tea samples, coffee samples, coupons for lunch places downtown, a vacuum sealing system with bags, a bible and fliers for various shows around the area. Most of the stuff makes sense to hand out and it's a great location to hit a bunch of people at once. Today made no sense though. The flier is for a Goodyear tire place, get up to a $60 rebate by mail in offer when you get a new Good Year credit card and tire purchase. Good deal, but, it's valid only at the two downtown locations. Why would you think people commuting by bus into downtown would be interested in a tire rebate that's good ONLY DOWNTOWN!

Monday, July 07, 2008

busy/messy afternoon so a busy/messy post

Been busy at work and at home lately. Some items of note/randomness;

  1. I wonder if I can sneak my way into Invesco for the nomination acceptance speech?
  2. Ribs on the grill are fantastic! The secret is the rub I'm sure of it.
  3. Grilled pizza is getting close to perfect crust wise, the right toppings are eluding me.
  4. The zucchini plant in the backyard is attempting to take over the entire 5'x5' space it is in, I'll try to post pics tonight.
-JH

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cuba, China, ANWR and oil

I overheard a conversation at lunch yesterday that peaked my interest, the Chinese are drilling for oil off the shores of Cuba but US companies cannot. Hm, well that's not true. Second topic was ANWR, and how much cheaper gas would be if oil companies could drill there. Well again, that's not true. The Energy department in 2004 said that drilling would get the oil flowing in 9 years, and that the reduction in cost per barrel of oil would be 50 cents, crude oil futures were at $134.62 on June 20, 2008. Even at the $16 a barrel cost when the study was done in 2000 that's a savings of 3% and that's over the course of the 4 years the oil would be there.

So the reduction in cost of a barrel of oil gained by drilling would be 3 tenths of 1 percent, so the cost of a gallon of gas would go down what . . a penny? Or, you could drive the speed limit and gain 7-23% mileage efficiency, or ensure your tires are inflated correctly and gain 3% efficiency. Of course you could buy a hybrid, but instead think about buying a used car, it's better for the environment and your wallet.

What some people don't know is why we're not drilling in Alaska, well we are, to the tune of 1 million barrels a day, just not in the refuge. The refuge it self was set aside in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration and described as "one of the world's great wildlife areas. The great diversity of vegetation and topography in this compact area, together with its relatively undisturbed condition, led to its selection as ... one of our remaining wildlife and wilderness frontiers." Seems like the right thing to do to keep one tiny piece of land the same way we found it, even if it means gas costs one cent more.

Find more fuel efficiency tips here.
Read about why it's better to buy a used car here.
Read more about the Arctic Refuge at the US Fish and Wildlife's site.
Rant at JH in the comments.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Grilled Pizza

For when it's too hot to turn on the oven. OK it wasn't really TOO hot to turn on the oven last night but we wanted to try grilling some pizza anyway, any excuse to use the grill right?

So I made up a normal batch of dough in the morning and tossed it in the fridge for the day, we suspect the results would have been a touch better had we not refrigerated the dough, we'll have to find out. After doing some research on how to grill pizza courtesy of the foodtv website I thought I was ready to go. The biggest lesson learned there was to oil the top before you flip the crust and to apply the toppings lightly. I used up some leftover spinach to make a quick pesto for my pie, with some ham and parmesan cheese on the top I was quite pleased. My wife had her standard mozzarella and pepperoni but thought the toppings were a little heavy for a grilled pie, she's going to try tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil next time.

I was very happy with the results and I think by the third pie I had the heat figured out such that the crust didn't scorch before the cheese melted. No pics from last night but you get a dough recipe today! woo!

Pizza Dough
Makes 2 12" pies

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 Cup hot water
3 Cups Flour ( I do half AP and half Whole Wheat)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp salt

1. Mix the yeast into the hot water and let sit about 5 minutes
2. Dump the yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups flour into your stand mixer (use the dough hook) or food processor
3. While mixing pour in the olive oil
4. Let mix 5 minutes
5. Let raise at least an hour (I like to put the dough into an oiled bowl and put it in the oven with another bowl of steaming water then close it up for 30-60 minutes if I have time)
6. Split the dough into two equal sized portions, roll out, top and bake as you please ( We like to do them on a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven usually)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

On to November . . .

The general election is going to be a contest between a campaign who wants to scare you into voting for their candidate versus a campaign whose candidate wants to inspire you. It will be a contest between a candidate who wants to continue the failed policies of the last 8 years and a candidate who knows we can do better and is ready to get to work. The guy I know who will make the changes we need will be here in August.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pollo de cerveza

No they aren't about to tango, or fight, just go on the grill. Those are the chickens we grilled up for Memorial day this past weekend. The one on the left has a little salt, pepper and garlic powder on the outside. The one on the right got a full rubdown of chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cinnamon. Both birds were sitting ever so comfortably on cans half full of Coors Banquet beer with a bay leaf crumbled into the can, extra herby flavor.

These guys spent about an hour and a half on the grill and turned out great. The bigger one was a touch under cooked and the skin that was touching on both birds wasn't super crispy, but grilling only one of them at a time should resolve both of those problems. Unfortunately we dug in so fast after they came off the grill we didn't get a chance to snap any after photos, but they were good lookin' let me tell you what! We served them up with some oven fries and a salad, a nice easy dinner on a rainy Memorial Day.

Your mission if you choose to accept it . . .

. . is to find natural casing hot dogs. I wish I could tell you that was the message my Dad left me on my voice mail, but instead I answered the phone and deprived him the pleasure of leaving me a Mission Impossible style message. I of course accepted the challenge, it was food after all, and I would get to eat one of these hot dogs. First of course I had to figure out what a natural casing hot dog was. Wikipediamobile away!

Hm, OK. Dad suggested Sabretts as a brand to try to find. I think this is because he found their hot dog sauce recipe online, but I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions. So onward and upward on my quest for hot dogs, first stop Sunflower Farmers Market, well first phone call anyway. No luck, well surely Wild Oats/Whole Foods would have them right? Once I was connected to the meat department, and once someone answered the phone . . "Maybe the Cherry Creek store has them, they make their own hot dogs, but they are skinless". Skinless hot dogs are not natural casing hot dogs, if I wanted skinless I'd just go to Safeway, but I would not be deterred.

I called Sabretts, specifically the rep who sells to distributors in Colorado to see if he'd sold to any retailers in the Denver metro area. They don't, they don't sell to anyone in the state, but they have a very helpful website if you'd like to order via the Internet. This of course would have been helpful if I needed the dogs in 2 weeks. Not 2 days. Still undeterred, and realizing that if you say frankfurter instead of hot dog it makes more sense to the guy on the other end of the phone, I surfed on.

A coworker popped up over the cube wall and said she was stopping at Tony's that night, she'd see if they had them. "Tony's . . . what?" I said. She couldn't believe I hadn't heard of Tony's Market, of course why would I, the closest one is down in Littleton on Bowles, not exactly a quick trip. I was willing to let somebody else make a trip for me though to check it out. Not only were my coworkers helping out but so were my wife's. They suggested Edwards Meats, conveniently on the way home from work, for my wife.

Edwards is legen . . . wait for it . . . dary! OK maybe not that cool, but it is pretty great, and they make their own sausage. This was deemed an acceptable substitute for natural casing hot dogs by the big boss, aka Dad. Once I got home we headed to Edwards to pick up some sausage, and check out the other wares of Edwards. As I was waiting for our sausage order my lovely wife was taking a stroll through the rest of the store and found . . natural casing hot dogs. So armed with a dozen assorted sausage and half a dozen natural casing hot dogs we checked out and headed home to throw it all in the freezer so it could make the trip north.

The sausage and dogs were enjoyed by all. The dogs have a great bite to them, they kinda snap when you bite into them, and the dog sauce on them was pretty tasty. All in all weekend was a good one, and I was reminded that there are deer that come into town in Guernsey from the river, but not usually in the middle of the day, that's new! These guys were in the neighbors yard just an hour or so before we left for Denver on Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

75,000 more say "Yes we can"

Barack Obama isn't saying fixing this country after 8 years of mismanagement is going to be easy, it's going to be roll-up the sleeves hard work, just like anything worthwhile doing is. In Oregon this weekend 75,000 people came out to see him speak and say Yes, they are there to do the hard work with him.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Garden Update: Beds are planted

Now it's a garden. We bought a surprising amount of veggies and herbs on Friday night at Lowes, and we're still missing oregano, rosemary and pablano peppers not to mention seeds for peas, beans and carrots.



Our shopping list on Friday night that did get fulfilled was:
  • Tomatoes - Roma and Early girl
  • Peppers - New Mexico, JalapeƱo and Anaheim
  • Cucumbers
  • 1 zucchini, and only one
  • Sweet Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Italian Parsley
  • Petunias
  • Marigolds

I got the plants we did buy into the beds on Saturday morning and the soaker hose snaked through one bed and into the other. Still on the to do list is borrowing tomato cages from my father-in-law, setting up a trellis for the cucumbers and mulching around the plants.

I'll try to do some updates throughout the year to track how things are going, especially come July once there is produce to actually harvest and eat!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Burgers and fries

I almost forgot to take a pic of last night's cow usage, in fact I didn't remember until I'd wolfed down half of dinner, d'oh!

We got to enjoy the new grill last night for the first time, we were pretty excited, and nothing is better off the grill around our house than some hamburgers. I was in charge of dinner while my wife was at the gym with a coworker. First up was getting the potato wedges peeled and in the oven roasting. Next up was making patties with the rest of a package of ground beef (the offer half went into tacos, no need to re-post that though).

My wife's was a fairly standard burger, just some salt and pepper and topped off with some cheese the last minute on the grill. I wanted a little more zip last night though so I stuffed it with some roasted Hatch chili diced up fine and some shredded cheddar. I have always used the stuffing method that involves making two really thin patties and smooshing them together with the good stuff in between, this usually ends up making a giant meatball instead of a burger though. Last night I tried the method where you make a ball with the meat, poke a hole in it for stuffing and then flatten it out into the patty. I did find that this method worked really well and with no loss of stuffing. You can just see some cheese and chili's oozing out in the pic above.

Of course it isn't really summer for us until there is a cucumber/tomato salad with dinner. We are really looking forward to August when the produce for that is sourced from the backyard. The grill worked great and we're looking forward to using it again tonight on some pork chops. Adventures this summer on the grill will include pizza, beer butt chicken and maybe an adventure in smoking, of course all of this, success and utter miserable failure alike will be shared with all of you, including the gory pics ;).

Chili Stuff Burgers
1/4 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
1 oz chopped roasted green chili of your choice (I have Hatch on hand)
1 oz grated cheese

1. Mix the salt and pepper into the beef
2. Form the beef into a ball and poke a hole into it just past the center.
3. Stuff the chili and cheese into the hole and cover it over.
4. Form a patty by gently pressing/patting the ball into shape, about 3/4 of an inch thick.
5. Grill over a medium-high grill for about 5 minutes per side.
6. Serve it up

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Is it a garden if there are no plants?

Since we moved in to the house I have wanted to put a garden in the back yard, there was a perfect place for it along the fence on the north side of the property. The previous owners had almost triangle shaped area covered with redwood chips and yard fabric that they kept a play set on. Here is a photo from our inspection a couple years ago of said play set.

Last summer we grew some herbs in containers on the back patio and we enjoyed having fresh herbs so much we decided to finally take the plunge and grow some vegetables. Instead of doing more containers though we thought we would take on some raised beds for veggies and herbs. A few things played into this decision; 1) I really wanted to take down the sucker elm that was growing in the bed of wood chips before it got any bigger and 2) we knew that if a few containers went well we would want to do more veggies the next year anyway so we figured it was smart to just skip ahead ;).

The first step in this little adventure was taking out the redwood chips (as we discovered the day we moved in the previous owners had already taken the play set with them) which was a much easier task then we had imagined it would be. Once we discovered that the yard fabric under the chips was laid down in such a way we could effectively lift it and push the chips up the slope towards the gate that leads to the compost pile it just became a matter of pulling up yard fabric and using the pitch fork to move the piles when they got too big. We now have a nice supply of wood chips for the compost pile for a few years.

Next up was the tree. That means it's time to use the chainsaw, ah yeah! A few quick minutes with the chain saw took down the elm. An hour or so of snipping, cutting and swearing broke it down into twigs and some decent sized pieces for the fire pit. The stump, if you could call it that, wasn't going to go as easily. (that is me taunting the tree after I took it down, it made me feel like a big man)

This is pretty clearly a sucker elm, there are a ton of them in the neighborhood, as such there is not a traditional root ball to dig up and remove nicely. So I started digging, not sure what I would find. I dug down about 2 feet and it was pretty clearly just a runner that had turned up and started growing into a tree. A little work with an axe wasn't really getting me anywhere, and when the axe head flew off above my head I was done with that. The simple answer was dynamite, but the hardware stores now a days do not carry it (I did not really consider dynamite mom, relax) so it was back to the chain saw. I dug a little farther down and just chopped the stump off as far down in the hole as I could get, filled the depression in with dirt and paid a gypsy to put a hex on it not to grow again.

All of this happened between the middle of April and last week. Knowing that I wanted to put in two 5'x5' raised beds and grass seed in the rest of the newly bare spots I thought it would be "smart" to break up the compacted dirt and dig in some leaves/compost to help aerate and feed the new greenery. Well it was technically a "smart" idea, it just was not the easiest to implement. A friend loaned us a hand tiller that made getting into the top couple inches pretty easy, but the clay underneath that wasn't as easily moved, this required some shoveling. So over the course of about 3 hours I managed to get all the dirt turned and leaves/compost turned into it about 6 inches down.

Now that we had a nice base it was time to build the beds. This was much easier than I was anticipating, a few minutes with the circular saw and my 10' lengths were cut up. A few minutes later and we had some deck screws in and were ready to place the beds. The hardest part of this last step was turning in some steer manure and digging up some extra soil so as to actually have "raised" beds.

Next weekend we will put the first plants in and get the soaker hoses laid out. We are also going spread the topsoil and get the grass seed down, hopefully the weeds will take it easy until then so the grass doesn't have to compete. So, is it a garden yet, or not till next week? ;)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Cottage Pie

The lilacs are in bloom in Colorado and Spring is making way for Summer slowly but surely. Spring in Colorado though is not all sunshine and tulips, it's snow in the sun and days of 50 mph wind. On days like that nothing beats a nice warm plate of Cottage Pie and a beer.

This cottage pie is a little de-constructed from the traditional cottage pie, mostly because I didn't want to wait for it to bake ;). It was just a quick browning of the ground beef with an onion, a couple carrots and some peas thrown in. We served it on top of some mashed spuds, traditionally it's covered with the spuds and baked. This attempt was lacking the gravy base that is usually associated with cottage pie, but we'll work on that.

Using a whole package (1.5 lbs) of ground beef yielded way to much beef mixture for us to use last night so we have at least half of last night's beef mixture in the freezer for another pass at a more traditional cottage pie.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Day! I didn't even get you a card!

Did you celebrate Earth Day yesterday? I did by flying over 1400 miles, eco friendly huh? yeah, not really. So the "latest hip thing" is to be green, eco-friendly, insert hippy term here. This is something I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, I do take the bus to work instead of drive, and we have bought some of those CFL bulbs, but we're not weaving our own shoes out of hemp or anything.

Since I've been reading more and more food related blogs (like you hadn't noticed) the big thing for Earth Day on the blogs was to eat "green", or responsibly. There is growing debate about how much impact on carbon emissions eating locally actually has, but that's not what this blog post is about. The main theme I saw in many posts yesterday and today was for folks to start their own garden. So we started a garden.

To be honest though we didn't start it to be "green". We started it for the tomatoes. And the cucumbers. And the magic that happens when you combine the two in a salad with some balsamic and olive oil. So this past weekend we planted our first seeds outside, some romaine lettuce and some spinach. Hopefully, if all goes well, they should be sprouting in about another 21 days or so, I'm not really sure I've never done this.

The next step is to finish the main area of the garden by taking out the last of the tree stump left that we took out. Then tilling in some leaves and manure (the compost isn't quite there yet but will be by fall). Come the middle of May I'll put some seeds in the ground for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs and some flowers. The middle of June will see us planting some store bought seedlings, I want to see which will do better. Maybe next year we'll get a grow light and start some seeds inside ourselves, just need to find a place that will be warm enough . .

So watch for more and more garden updates, unless it all dies in which case we'll never speak of this again.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Meatloaf and Syrah

We had a very productive Saturday (planted spinach and lettuce, fertilized the lawn, re-arranged closets, made 2 loaves of bread and watched a baseball game) and we finished the day off by making a meatloaf, potatoes au gratin and drinking a nice bottle of Syrah.

The meatloaf turned out rather nicely we thought, it was a 3 to 2 mixture of ground beef and ground pork, half an onion sauteed with some garlic, an egg, ketchup, oats, Worcestershire sauce, milk and black pepper. In the past we've almost always done onion, green pepper and onion trying sauteed, raw and pured, none of which we really liked all that much. I think we finally settled on a good method with just the onion and much less that most recipes call for.

For the potatoes we were going to go with a recipe we had tried before and really enjoyed but we felt that some cheese would make these potatoes even better. We did not follow any real set recipe, just figured sliced potatoes layered with cheese, salt, pepper and garlic salt and then a little milk and melted butter in the corner should cook about as long as meatloaf. What do you know, it worked.

The wine was a bottle given to my wife by the big boss at work (the winery sent him 4 bottles for his birthday which he gave away, nice guy). The wine was a 2005 Benziger Syrah which my wife loved from her first sip till the end of the glass, I wasn't as big of a fan. I thought the wine was a little too oaky for the meal but would have gone nicely with some roast beef and rosemary potatoes.

Overall a pretty great way to finish a Saturday, even if we couldn't get the fire pit to light.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Last Night's dinner: Steaks on the grill pan

Hm Hm steak, salad and corn. The only downside was that it was canned corn not grilled corn on the cob.

I grilled up some Sirloin tip steaks last night, the first foray into the steaks we get in our beef delivery. The grilling was done in the new shiny grill pan we got a month or so ago from a Pampered Chef party. The good part was that the pan got nice and hot and delivered some excellent grill lines. The not so good part was that the steaks didn't really cook all the way through on the pan even after letting them sit on the counter for 90 minutes before the grilling and resting for 15 minutes after. Next time I believe I'll char them in the pan and then move them to the oven to finish cooking through, that should leave them juicy in the middle but still get some char on them. Of course having a grill with multiple burners on hand would be handy too . . . where is that Gov Stimulus money?!

For any of you who do read nytimes.com (Jay) your suspicions that these on-going dinner last night blog entries are stolen from inspired by Mark Bittman are correct.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rockies Triple Play

Over the past 3 days we've spent a lot of time at the ballpark. We inherited some tickets for the Sunday game at the last minute from some friends, thanks guys! That day game was warmer than expected, and our seats were sunnier than expected, these things combined for a resulting sunburn that is still pink but gradually getting less tender.

The Monday night game was the complete opposite, I went from short sleeves to two coats, hat and gloves in just over 24 hours. Spring in Colorado is pretty awesome*! Finally the Rockies won a game and Cook's gem of an outing didn't go to waste. I hear that it was the fastest game in Rockies history as well, wouldn't be surprised since it was too cold to swing at the ball.

Tuesday's game was the first one for our normal Tuesday night tickets. This year the group is up to 6 from the original 4 of the past two years, we're slowly assimilating baseball fans into our clutches. Another game where pitching was pretty good overall and really great in spots, hopefully this was a confidence boosting game for Uball. Maybe most importantly is the fact that they Rox scored more than 2 runs for the first time this year. Hopefully this trend continues and they can turn things around when they go to the Snake Pit this weekend.

*We're under a Winter Storm watch as of 8 tonight and expecting 3-8" of snow in the city on Thursday, then a heat wave and highs in the mid 60's for the weekend!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

hmmm tacos

Tonight's dinner was tacos, tasty tasty tacos. I like to make my tacos by boiling the beef, that's right, I said BOILING! (blame my dad) It isn't quicker than browning the beef, but it is easy to throw the beef, some onion, some potato, salt and pepper in a pot with water turn on the heat and then chop up your tomato and avocado. (yes I said potato, try it, you'll love it) Now the real reason I started boiling beef was to cut down on the grease in the tacos, when you fry them. No frying tonight though, we're trying to cut the calories over here.

So that was dinner tonight and the second thing we made with our share of beef. Lots more beef in the freezer, lots more recipes to come.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Alive and Kicking

I'm here.

I've been focusing on my 3 fantasy teams, yes 3. We got a quarter of a cow last friday, woo hoo cow! Look for many recipes on using up all that ground beef we just got. I finally finished the book on Captain Cook, not the pirate, I was reading, now onto a book about the history of gambling, thanks C! Baseball season is finally here, good thing the Rockies got a do-over for opening day. And finally I'm a little sad, we didn't get on the ball soon enough to get opening day seats this year, so our first game will be Monday instead followed by the first Guys Night Out game on Tuesday night, C and S will be joining the party this year, woo hoo!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Adventures in baking

Bread that is. I've been meaning to try this recipe for awhile and today was nice and slow so I made bread. It's the first time I've tried bread before and I'm not much of a baker but it was basically the same recipe I use for pizza dough so it wasn't much of a stretch, and it tastes fantastic. Next weekend I think I'll try the no-knead recipe I've seen making the rounds on the Intertubes, Coors substituted of course.

Convention time


Yesterday I was at the Jefferson county Democratic convention. There were just over 3000 seated delegates that forced a move to the arena on the School of Mines campus. In addition there were over 1200 alternate delegates who came to campus and waited for one of the delegates to not show so they could be seated. All in all there were roughly 10 times as many people as there were 2 years ago at the convention which made it the largest attended Democratic convention in the history of Jefferson county.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rant: The war on trans fats

Boston is banning trans fats in restaurants and grocery stores. That's a good thing.

The ban does include a provision that bagged chips and cookies are exempt though. That's a bad thing.

Does the ban mean you won't be able to buy butter or beef since they both have naturally occuring trans fats? The majority of the trans fats that we as Americans eat are from packaged snacks and foods, like chips and cookies. Some studies have contended that the trans fats in these snack goods, man made, differ from the ones found naturally in animal products, beef and dairy products.

Seems like another good reason to eat more real food and fewer Oreos, but that's just me.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Caucusing in Wyoming

I came up to Wyoming yesterday to volunteer for the Obama campaign at the caucus site in Platte County.  I'll have a full account up later tonight once we get home, the results were 89 for Clinton and 84 for Obama, overall it was a great turn out for Platte County who only had 35 democrats come out to caucus 4 years ago!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Heading to Wyoming

This weekend I'm heading back home to help with the caucus/campaign for Obama. Is anyone in the area heading to Laramie on Friday evening to see Barack Obama speak?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Matching Donations

I contributed to my first political campaign today, I don't even feel dirty about it! The Obama campaign has a program where first time donors are paired up and a matching donation is made by someone else around the country. This lets you, the donor, connect with another small amount donor to talk about how the campaign is going in their neck of the woods, how they got involved and why they are helping. If you are in the Obama camp, at least 1 of you who read this blog is I'm sure, you can get into the matching game here; http://donate.barackobama.com/match. The last time I tried to connect though the servers were busy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eat Real food, not "healthy" food

Micheal Ruhlman has a little rant today about the reason he believes America got fat. His solution, eat real fat, just less of it, instead of processed sugar and salt.

Friday, February 15, 2008

vacation . . . delayed

grrr

mechanical problems caused our flight to be canceled yesterday which puts our vacation on hold for 48 hours. thank you very much united.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Recipe: Green Chile

A buddy of ours who lives in New Mexico brought up a bushel of roasted green chile's this past summer of which he gave us half. This then turned into 12 sandwich sized ziplock bags of green chiles with about 12 chiles in each bag and that's only half a bushel! So I've made 2 batches of Green Chile at this point, the best part is I usually have everything but tomatillos on hand so it is super easy to make. I've adapted the Denver Post's recipe a bit.

Green Chile
1 pound diced pork (I usually just cut up a couple loin chops)
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Onion chopped
1 Tbsp each; Chile Powder, Cumin, Oregano
3 Cups Chicken Stock
1 32oz can tomatoes
1 pound tomatillos
6-10 roasted green chiles

Brown the pork over high heat in the oil for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned
Add the onion and some salt and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes or until onions soften
Mix in the spices and let fry for a minute or two
Add the stock and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan
Let this simmer over medium heat for an hour.
Add to a large stockpot or crockpot the tomatoes and crush with a masher or your hands, whichever is handy and clean.
Quarter the tomatillos and add to the pot of tomatoes.
De-stem and de-seed the peppers, give them a rough chop and put 'em in the pot.
After the hour of simmering is up add the meat mixture to the pot.
Simmer on the stove for an additional hour or in the crockpot for at least 8 hours or up to a day.

I like to throw some of the chile into a little pan, bring to a simmer and crack an egg or two into it, serve with a tortilla and cheese.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pancake day!

That's right, two posts in one day, back to back even. I'm a day late, but yesterday was officially pancake day! I didn't make it to any pancake suppers but next year I'm on the lookout.

JH's ever changing pancake recipe

This version is my usual Saturday morning standby, but Ricotta pancakes have been known to make an appearance as well at our house.

1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 C White Flour
1/2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 Tbsp. White Sugar
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp. Salt

1 Egg
1 Cup Milk (or butter milk)
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Sift together the dry stuff. Wisk together the wet stuff. Dump the wet stuff onto the dry stuff and mix up a little, not too much. Pour 1/4 Cup portions of the batter onto a hot griddle, flip when bubbles start to appear, usually a minute or two.

You could add blueberries once the batter is on the griddle, just be sure to push them into the batter a little.

Caucus Caucus Caucus!

This was the view in the cafeteria at Arvada High School last night. There were probably 300-400 people at the caucus location, 34 in my precinct alone. My precinct went 24 Obama, 10 Clinton, foreboding a big win for Obama in Colorado last night. One great sign for the general election was the big turnout of young people, in our precinct there were at least 5 who would fall into the under 36 crowd, in some precincts it was closer to half!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Who will you be voting for on Tuesday?

First off, I hope that all of you who are in states that have a primary or are holding a caucus are planning on participating, regardless of who you are supporting. "Super Tuesday" is only 2 days away, in fact in just 51 hours we'll be sitting down in Colorado to caucus. I had been a John Edwards supporter and was a little sad about his decision to postpone his campaign earlier this week but that did not stop me from wanting to participate in the caucus on Tuesday and have a say in who the Democratic nominee is.

Since I figure John won't be gathering the necessary 15% of delegates at the caucus on Tuesday I will need a 2nd choice, so I spent last night checking out the sites for Hillary and Barack to see whose policies I was more with sync in. All in all they are very similar and either of them will be a great candidate and President, but what set them apart for me was that Barack's policies and plans for Pre-K education and investment in Math and Science in K-12 that were very well thought out and articulated. He understands that early education is important and that America needs to make an investment in Math and Science to ensure we are the leaders in innovation throughout the 21st century. So on Tuesday night I will be a vote for Obama at the caucus. If you want to get involved in the campaign check out http://my.barackobama.com and get involved with your local groups.